Seasoned bakers know that crust can make or break a pie. A crisp, flaky crust elevates a dessert, while a pale (or burnt) pastry tends to have the opposite effect. Whether you're baking for a special feast or a regular Wednesday night, you no longer need to leave the quality of your crust up to fate. There's a simple trick for getting amazing, golden pie crust every time.
According to The Kitchn, the key to achieving pie perfection is a brown paper bag. After preparing a pie according to your favorite recipe, take a brown paper bag, puff out the edges, and slip the pie inside it. If you can find one, a food-grade bag with no branding is your best option. You can also fashion a makeshift bag by folding parchment paper around the pie.
Once the pie is covered, place it on a sheet pan and bake it, making sure the flammable paper isn't touching the top or sides of the oven. Food52 recommends cutting a circle out of the top of the bag toward the end of the baking time for best results. When you remove your pie from the oven, you should see a blonde crust that's perfectly baked from edge-to-edge.
The paper bag method works by distributing heat evenly across the pastry. Instead of a crust that's burnt around the edges and pale in the middle, the result is a pleasingly consistent golden-brown color. This method first appeared in the Amish cookbook The ABC’s of Paper Bag Cookery, and The Elegant Farmer in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, has since popularized it. Though the bakery refuses to share the details of its recipe, there are plenty of copycat versions online.
Now that you know the secret to incredible pie crust, all you need to do is pick a pie to bake. Here are some forgotten pie recipes worth bringing back.
[h/t The Kitchn]